We are continuing to see the explosion of smart technology devices such as smart speakers (Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc.), smart watches with personal assistants, etc, in the consumer market place. While these technologies provide incredible convenience, I want to take this opportunity to remind you that the vast majority of these products are designed for the consumer and expressly do not meet the student data privacy requirements for use in an educational setting.
As educators, we have an obligation to protect our students’ privacy. While I may feel comfortable trading my own personal privacy for the convenience of using smart technologies, it is never acceptable for me to make a similar decision for my students’ privacy. Only parents or the District, acting on behalf of the parent through a contract in compliance with School Board policy, may make decisions about the sharing of personal information. Therefore, most consumer-grade smart technologies are not appropriate for the classroom and should not be used with students.
Common Sense Media has published a few articles with more information about smart technologies. Whenever I am considering privacy issues, as a district staff member, as a consumer, or as a parent, I look to Common Sense Media for an objective analysis.
Compare the Privacy Practices of the Most Popular Smart Speakers with Virtual Assistants - https://www.commonsense.org/
What Teachers Need to Know About Using Smart Speakers in the Classroom - https://www.commonsense.org/
If you have questions regarding privacy issues for specific software, please check out the District’s Digital Resource Menu at http://ecsd-fl.schoolloop.com/